City of Detroit begins process that could lead to demolition of Park Avenue Building

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit’s historic Park Avenue Building, near Grand Circus Park, was designed by the legendary Albert Kahn.  It was once a majestic office tower.  Today, after decades of neglect, the Park Avenue Building is a horrendous eyesore and the City of Detroit is taking steps to force its owner to tear it down.

The 12-story building sits across from one of downtown Detroit’s busiest lunch spots-- the Bucharest Grill— and has been vacant since the late 1990’s.

“Are they going to tear it down? Or, are the going to let it look like this?” asks Bucharest Grill owner Jerry Belanger as he points to the building.  “It’s been sitting in this condition for 10 years.”

Detroit officials have apparently decided that the building should come down.  The law department has filed for an injunction against owner Ralph Sachs, asking a judge to order that the Park Avenue Building be torn down.

“I’d hate to see the building demolished,” said Paul Howard, owner of Cliff Bell’s, a jazz club also located across from the Park Avenue Building.  In eight years on the block, Howard has seen the hazards of the building.

“Panes of glass have blown out of that building and a huge column of bricks collapsed out of the corner of it a few years ago,” said Howard.  He feels that public safety is paramount and if that means the building needs to be demolished, so be it.

Last year, a judge ordered Ralph Sachs to raze the old Hotel Charlevoix, which he also owned and which also had been vacant and dilapidated for years.  The vacant lot where the hotel stood is behind the Park Avenue Building and now has a “for lease” sign on it.

A court summons, dated August 7, 2014, was posted on the fence surrounding the Park Avenue Building. It gives Sachs 21-days from receipt to reply.  The clock is ticking toward that August 28th deadline.

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